naming an apairy? first post
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Pleasant Hope, Missouri
    Posts
    10

    Default naming an apairy? first post

    hi everyone this is my first post but i have been on this website many times over the past year. there is a wealth of information here! i have tried looking for this question but i still am not sure on the answer. i purchased 2 nucs last year, cut out a couple more from trees that had fell over, and made a few splits to get up to 8 hives to overwinter. well 3 of them are nucs but as of now they're all still alive and i am seeing some orientation flights on warm days so i think some minor brood rearing is happening. a couple weeks ago i even seen some bees carrying pollen in. we still have a lot of cold weather coming in so i am not doing any inspections, only popping the tops off to check sugar supply on warm days. i have an order for 2 more nucs ordered this year to help diversify my genetics but i plan on trying to sell some nucs as well as set up a hive or two for honey production this year.

    i am not looking to get an llc and start a business but i would like to market my nucs, queens, honey, etc in a semi-professional kind of way. like set up a simple website, facebook page, etc. do you actually have to set up a business to call yourself "Wilson Apairy" for example or can i just do it? Obviously honey labels would be the same. i live in missouri and i have found out i don't have to have an inspected kitchen to sell honey until it hits $50k a year but it's hard to find any info on the regs of doing business as a made up name.

    i guess the next question is do i have to claim sales on my taxes? it obviously doesn't take very many nucs to hit $600, but i have spent my own money purchasing equipment etc and have no idea how much i've spent. if this is gotta happen i guess i need to start keeping an expense report. sorry for so many questions but i want to do this right, and i don't want to be looking over my shoulder wondering when the tax man or law dog gonna come knocking on my door. i realize a forum isn't the best place to ask for legal advice, but i don't know where else to start and i have spent too much money on bee stuff to afford anything else! thank you for any help.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Plumas County, California, USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    Welcome to the forum. There's a section in the forum that is for commercial beeks, and maybe some of your answers might be there. But I'll take a stab at some of the questions.

    Every state and county is different as far as business licenses, filing for a fictitious business name, business regs, and so on. You should contact whatever office in your county government that could answer these questions. Maybe the County Recorder? (that's who it is in my county, for example). It's probably all on the county level, and a phone call or face-to-face contact might get you the answers you need pretty quickly. They'll tell you what you need, or who you need to talk to.

    I think a lot of people do a quiet honey business and don't say anything to anybody about income or profits. Probably the same with nucs. If you have a webpage and a facebook page, however, that is creating a lot of attention, and so someone could notice. Not so quiet anymore. My understanding is that for taxes you could present what you do as a hobby and you have to report income on taxes. You can deduct expenses up to the amount of income. Or you could do a real business. You still have to report income, but you can deduct all your expenses. You'll need to do some checking on this--some expenses you can apparently deduct for the business year; but others have to be depreciated over several years. But the general advice I've seen here on the forum is don't be too anxious to get started. Take you time and see how it works out first before jumping in up to your neck.

    Good luck with your project!
    Year 3
    Zone 7b 3500 ft.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    You will have to look up the laws in your state. The requirements varies by state, so what works for me does not work for you.

    In Colorado we can sell honey under a "cottage industry law" as long as we meet specific labeling requirements, take a food safety class, and sell less than $10K/year.

    You can find the info for Colorado here
    https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdp...g-and-labeling
    https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdp...eligible-foods
    https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdp...rting-business

    I dont think colorado has any special regulations about selling bees, but I have not looked into this in detail. I think you may have to collect tax if you are over X$ (I dont know the amount) but this may depend on your state.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,661

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    JMHO, but I'd gently suggest you should get at least a couple more years of beekeeping experience under your belt before you can legitimately be selling quality nucs and queens. Learning the laws for running a small business in your state is the easy part. It takes a lot of beekeeping skill to produce nucs and queens that are good enough to be charging money for. That skill can only come through experience. Its faster working with a qualified mentor, but it still takes at least a handful of seasons working with dozens of hives. Otherwise, you are doing a disservice to your customers.

    Again, JMHO.




    .
    Last edited by shinbone; 02-26-2019 at 09:03 AM.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    As mentioned, it depends on the state. Currently in my state I can do business under my name without any paperwork. If I want to do business as some other name, I need to register a "DBA" or "doing business as" name. It is a small fee and an ad in the local paper in case someone wants to claim they have a claim on that name. Colorado was somewhat similar when I registered there. An LLC is more complicated, but offers better protection.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    George County, MS
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    JW,
    You are asking about two different topics here - starting a business AND beekeeping operations - very different. For business, I suggest that you find a course at a local community college. It will be WELL worth your time to learn how to do it right rather than making a lot of expensive mistakes (sort of like starting beekeeping).

    I have seen 1, 2 and 3 day seminars on the topic with fat looseleaf binders. I have seen 10 week college courses with textbooks. You can also self-teach everything you need online but an organized course is much easier. General topics usually include bookkeeping (keeping track of your money), accounting (are you making a profit?), taxes (the government want its share), marketing (how to sell), business planning (how to stay in business), local regulations (the rules), and legal issues (lawyers).

    If you are selling bee products, you are in it for the money so it is a business regardless of whether you name it. Do the business right from the start or learn the expensive way what everyone else has already learned.

    My other bit of advise is: learn what the rules are, so you know when and how to bend them and when to follow them to stay out of trouble.

    Specifically about names: The business department of the Department of State of your state will have a registry of corporations, probably online. Look to see if the name you want to use is already on file. If you file as a business (single proprietor, partnership, Limited Liability Corp, "C" Corp) you cannot duplicate names. If you file, you can file with a meaningless name and have a DBA (Doing Business As) name that you like. If you don't file, you still need to avoid a duplicate name.

    Specifically about taxes: yes, you ought to report sales to the government but there are several different ways to do that. The best is through a LLC because it is easy. Learn some simple business accounting. You will be surprised at the many items you can deduct as business expenses.

    Good luck.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,458

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    Quote Originally Posted by cconnell View Post
    .... My understanding is that for taxes you could present what you do as a hobby and you have to report income on taxes. You can deduct expenses up to the amount of income. Or you could do a real business. You still have to report income, but you can deduct all your expenses. You'll need to do some checking on this--some expenses you can apparently deduct for the business year; but others have to be depreciated over several years. ...
    Good luck with your project!
    Doing my own 2018 US taxes....
    The current standard deduction situation makes all those little games with hobbies and such - waste of time and nonsense (as for me).
    Every situation is different, but do study the latest tax situation - there are significant changes.

    For many people the current standard deduction (double of the previous) will make most all little tax manipulations no longer meaningful.
    The standard deduction just covers it all (and then some).
    This will include those tax implications related to small beekeeping operations (few hundreds of dollars - don't even bother, most likely).

    PS: indeed, before starting along this "beekeeping business" track, I too recommend figuring out the actually working beekeeping model first; that's what I have been doing.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,769

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    Quote Originally Posted by AzaleaHill View Post
    JW,
    You are asking about two different topics here - starting a business AND beekeeping operations - very different. For business, I suggest that you find a course at a local community college. It will be WELL worth your time to learn how to do it right rather than making a lot of expensive mistakes (sort of like starting beekeeping).

    Specifically about taxes: yes, you ought to report sales to the government but there are several different ways to do that. The best is through a LLC because it is easy. Learn some simple business accounting. You will be surprised at the many items you can deduct as business expenses.
    Have you found a local club or one in a larger city near you? Also the LLC is easy just look at your state site https://youtu.be/IWu_dwWsv3g.

    But, as recommenced I would slow down and learn the beekeeping part first. You will quickly implode with some bad reviews from customers buying from someone making rookie mistakes. queens you have presold not forming etc. And BTW you will make mistakes.

    You need to learn how to make your own queens and it is not as easy as it looks.

    Play with it first then figure out what works for you and then go that way. In beekeeping a plan never ends up as it starts.

    "If you want to be a millionaire in beekeeping start with 2."

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Izard County, AR, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    As mentioned above, it's the cart before the horse. We all probably did the same thing as newbies, I know I did. I had a sheet of paper with all the splits I could make, and then re-splits, and wondered what I would do with that many bees. Then reality sinks in after your first bad winter, or late spring, or the year where every colony swarms 50 times each despite your best efforts, or that "new thing" you do to every colony that results in you muttering about how, "there's always next year," and then you finally get a surplus of honey but then you learn that over robbing them cripples them for the next year, etc....

    There's more to learn than you think at first, so what to do with all of your profits and how to structure your empire can probably wait a bit, in my opinion.

    General business/taxes advice: Never hide income. You can get creative with what you write off as business expenses because the worst that happens is you get audited and they deny your write offs. Even then you can appeal. But hiding income gets you potentially raided, arrested and locked up.
    8 years, 30 colonies, no chemical treatments

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Landing, NJ, USA
    Posts
    1,026

    Default Re: naming an apairy? first post

    Your county agent might be a good place to start asking questions.
    Bill

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